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Fiji Country Report

Country Risk Level

Medium

Overview

Executive Summary

Prime Minister Voreqe "Frank" Bainimarama's government is likely to remain stable despite a much narrower win in 2018. His military connections mean that civil unrest and coup risks are low. The government enjoys a strong majority, with Bainimarama's FijiFirst party controlling 27 seats in the 51-seat parliament. Bainimarama continues to enjoy reported approval ratings above 70%.Chinese and Australian commercial investment, mainly for engineering and maintenance services, will be supplemented by development aid. Land issues constitute the majority of investment disputes, primarily involving the tourism and logging industries. State-owned Chinese investors are likely to enjoy some political protection in contract disputes given China's growing influence in Fiji.The relationship between Fiji's indigenous and Indo-Fijian populations has triggered civil unrest in the past, but is currently benign. In the unlikely event that ethnic rivalry leads to protests, the government would quickly direct the military to restore order, limiting risk to property. Foreigners are unlikely to be specifically targeted for petty theft, even in Suva's urban areas.A healthy tourism sector and continued recovery in aid flows underpin Fiji's continued economic expansion. Economic growth over the near and medium term will depend heavily on gaining further market share in the competitive tourism market and building up new potential growth sectors supported by foreign direct investment.

Operational Outlook

The government seeks concessionary loans to fund infrastructure projects (transport links across the country remain unreliable) and is particularly open to foreign participation in this sector, which has to date mainly come from Chinese firms. The risk of business disruption is compounded by environmental disasters – the most recent of which, Cyclone Winston in February 2016, caused extensive damage. However, the Fiji Roads Authority allocated USD23 million for repairing 13 bridges and crossings specifically damaged by cyclones. Most recently, in December 2019, the Fiji Roads Authority announced a tender for the repair of a motorway in Vanua Levu.

Terrorism

Ammunition was discovered near Lautoka in January 2017, prompting the opposition party to call for a military counter-terrorism unit. Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho has expressed similar views and stressed the possibility of a larger network that may be transporting weapons through Fiji. However, the terrorist threat remains negligible. In November 2019, the defence ministry organised a counter-terrorism workshop in collaboration with the Australian government to identify and prevent terrorist attacks.

Crime

Crime is increasing within urban areas, notably the capital Suva. Small-scale petty theft, muggings, house burglaries, and organised theft targeting businesses represent the main crime risks. Authorities said that drug trafficking has been on the rise, as Fiji attracts more tourists and lies on a transnational drug shipping route from Latin America to Australia. Although there have been past instances of theft and sexual assault involving foreigners, the risk to visitors is generally low on the main islands – provided the necessary precautions are taken – and practically non-existent in the smaller islands, where the focus is on tourism.

War Risks

Relations with Samoa are strained by Samoa's acceptance of Australia and New Zealand in the Pacific Islands Forum and Fiji's resistance. However, the risk of interstate war is negligible. In August 2017, the Canadian Navy sent a team of sailors to train members of Fiji's maritime forces. In November 2019, the Australian Defence Force visited Fiji in the framework of the Pacific Step-up partner programme.

Social Stability

The relationship between Fiji's indigenous and Indo-Fijian populations has triggered civil unrest in the past but is currently benign. Indo-Fijians' political representation has been reduced since the 2014 election because parliament is currently dominated by two largely ethnic-Fijian parties. In the unlikely event that ethnic rivalry leads to protests, the government would rapidly direct the military to restore order, limiting risk to property.

Health Risk

Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travelers over one year of age arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever (YFV) transmission and for travelers who have been in transit for >12 hours in an airport located in a country with risk of YFV transmission.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Practical Information

Climate

Fiji has a tropical climate with average temperatures fluctuating between 20°C and 32°C throughout the archipelago. Temperatures remain relatively steady from season to season, although summers (November to March) are slightly hotter and more humid than the rest of the year. The dry season lasts from May until October and the rainy season from December to April. Cyclones can strike between November and April.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +679
Police: 917
Fire Dept., Ambulance: 911

Electricity

Voltage: 240 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Risk Level
Critical High Medium Low Minimal